My Porn Addiction, Perfectionist Anxiety

Submitted by EnchantingGhost on
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Ok this is my first post on this site, so I really hope I'm writing this in the right place! (I'm very sorry if I haven't!) I'm 20 years old and have been masturbating since the age of 15, doing so almost daily for the last 3/4 years.

I have for several years now also been suffering from perfectionist related anxiety which basically means that nothing I write, regardless of the grade, is ever good enough. In my eyes it's never quite right of any value and I have suffered from an irrational fear of failure whereby I visualise if my work doesn't continue to improve that ultimately my whole life will spiral out of control. (I know this will all sound fairly ridiculous and irrational, and I know this but sometimes I struggle to escape this mindset). I see myself as more much less intelligent, talented and able than the people around me, regardless of if this is true or not. As a result of this I have a tendency to procrastinate, to delay the time when I have to commit words to paper that I will undeniably hate and most likely delete.

Within this masturbation and pornography has acted as an escape, but also created a terrible self feeding cycle. On the one hand it delays me from having to commit to actual tasks and brings that tiny moment of satisfaction and calm. But it not only uses up time before deadlines which stresses me out, but worse it acts as a justification for my feelings of dissappointment in myself. The fact that I've given in to the urge reinforces my feelings that I'm not good enough, that I should be better. It also makes me feel bad because pornography opposes all the beliefs I believe in, in the 'real world' like feminism and is so lacking the things I consider myself to value and be attracted to in women in real life such as intellegence, physical intimacy, humour, compassion and real beauty. It reduces female just to images and actions. I think there's something quite cold and empty beneath the enticing surface of pornography, I don't know if this is just a personal thing or something other people think...

I should also emphasise that I've never been in a romantic relationship, and that's something which has sort of always played on my mind and made me feel self conscious. I think like a lot of men, the loneliness of not being in a relationship has fuelled my porn addiction, but also in turn caused my greater self consciousness in approaching women.

I've also begun to see the effects of excessive masturbation on my life. My attention span when reading has been getting shorter for some time now and doesn't help when you're studying a subject like History where you have to spend most days reading. I'm not going to lie, I'm like most men very conscious of the potential problems of shrinking penis size, ED and other physical effects of excessive masturbation.

So recently I've been trying to take a look at my life. I've been seeing a counseller about my anxiety, and I think it's getting better, I know it will never go away but slowly I'm learning to manage it. I've made the choice to try and go three weeks without masturbation before reviewing my situation (The last time I masturbated and looked at porn was last Friday). I'm wary of the choices I'm making, my perfectionism and my temptation to build this up in case I start developing unhealthy expectations of myself e.g.) that I should forever be some kind of completely chaste superman, because the fall out if I do cave will be so much worse if I do. I'm not commiting myself to never masturbating again realistically at some point in the future I will, but I want to feel I have greater control of it and would want to be free of my addiction to pornography, which I don't consider healthy.

(Phew - Sorry I know that was very long, waffly and hard going. But it feels good to be able to put it all out there openly after all this time. Thank you for your time)


Thanks for telling us your story

Any place on the site is the right place. Smile However, I have enabled you to blog so you can start your own thread there if you prefer.

Sorry to hear about the anxiety. It's amazing what symptoms can be associated with hyper-stimulation of the brain's reward circuitry. It hits different people differently, and I'm beginning to suspect that none of us truly figure out which symptoms were linked to excess...until we've given our brains a long time-out (okay...maybe with the occasional orgasm Smile ).

I find it very intriguing that mood disorders like depression, anxiety, desire to isolate/social awkwardness, and attention difficulty improve as people restore balance. So do OCD thoughts of the type you describe. Who would have thought???

Anyway, I admire your courage for making the experiment. I hope you find what you learn empowering.

Definitely try not to be perfectionistic about the experiment. Coaxing your limbic brain into balance is often kind of messy. On the other hand, the more consistency you can manage, the more clearly you'll be able to assess whether hyperstimulation has indeed been messing with your mood and dampening your social life.

You write beautifully, by the way. I hope that one benefit you discover will be faith in yourself and the courage of your convictions. I see it happen here all the time. Smile

Perfectionism is a way of

Perfectionism is a way of managing anxiety. People that have compulsions and struggle with things like this are just trying to manage their anxiety. Its weird how it comes out in all of these different ways. By allowing yourself to take a break from your porn compulsion, you open up room to manage your anxiety in a much better and healthier way. Until we learn to do that, it feels like we are trying to cover one compulsion with another. You are taking a big step. Dont worry about whether or not you will be perfectionistic about this endeavor, you'll learn real quick how perfectionism interferes with your best interest and efforts. You'll be forced to adapt to a healthier way of adapting to stress. I wish you the best with this as I have suffered similarly and have found some relief by learning how to control my compulsions.

Courage is knowing what not to fear.

I can relate

Hey EnchantingGhost, thanks for sharing your story. I feel that I can relate to what you have to say about anxiety.

With myself I find that anxiety has a major hold on the choices I make on a day to day basis. What I found from previous experience is that after having a a PMO binge was that my anxiety levels increased as compared to when I was abstaining. I have recently come across a book called "Mind over mood" by Padesky and Greenberger that has some useful stuff on coping with anxiety.

All the best for the future. Stay strong.